Informal observations of teaching can be extremely effective in helping to enhance teaching performance. UNC Charlotte’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers the opportunity for faculty to be observed by members who have been publicly recognized for excellence in teaching. Trained faculty will observe classes at the request of the person wishing to be observed, and the observation’s purpose will be to provide feedback on teaching practices and to suggest ways to improve those practices, if appropriate. Any information gathered through the classroom observation process is confidential and will not be used for any purpose other than enhancement of teaching: all information stays between the observer and the teacher being observed.
Use our Classroom Observation request form if you would like to schedule this service.
Guidelines for Teacher Being Observed
The following guidelines apply to teaching observations performed through the CTL.
If you wish to be observed, contact the CTL well before the observation (i.e., approximately two weeks prior), either through the CTL website or by calling 7-8080. List at least two dates and class times that you are available for an observation.
- You will be contacted by an observer to set up a pre-observation conference and the classroom observation dates.
- You will also set up a post-observation conference date that should occur as soon as possible after the observation.
- The purpose of the pre-observation conference is to describe the context of the course, describe the objectives of the class session, discuss the purpose of the observation, share teaching concerns, etc.
- The observer will observe the entire class period (for 75 minute classes) or part of the class session (3 hour classes). You may introduce the observer if you like.
- At the post-observation conference, you will receive oral feedback about the observation. The results of the observation are confidential.
Guidelines for Observer
The following guidelines apply to the faculty member doing the observation.
- You must attend a workshop offered by CTL before you can observe in the CTL program.
- CTL will contact you when an observation has been requested.
- The faculty member will be given your name and will make first contact to set up the pre-observation conference and the observation.
- At the pre-observation conference several things should occur: understand the context of the course and class session, determine the purpose of the observation, identify the objectives of the class session, explain how you will take notes, determine where you will sit, etc.
- You should collect from the teacher a copy of the class syllabus as well as an outline of the class you will observe. Discuss the context of the class to be observed, the purpose of the observation, and if there are any special behavior to observe.
- You may use any method for collecting data during the observations: anecdotal records, running records, or observation guides (some are provided by CTL.) Videotaping is another option. The faculty member should be included in the decision of what procedure to use.
- In the classroom, you should be as unobtrusive as possible. Students will know you are there, but try not to call attention to yourself. Don’t interrupt or participate in the lesson.
- The post-observation conference is the key to the observation where feedback is given. It is best described as a conversation about teaching. Allow the faculty member to begin the conversation. Praise the faculty member, but give honest and useful feedback.
- Do not write a report for the teacher. Rely on oral feedback.